I’ve written lots of stories about replacing culverts to improve
salmon passage, but a $600,000 grant to the Suquamish Tribe will be
used to remove a culvert and fully open up the estuary at the mouth
of Chico Creek.
This culvert on Chico Creek is
scheduled for removal. Here, Suquamish Fisheries Manager Jay
Zischke and the tribe's environmental biologist Tom Ostrom survey
Photo courtesy of Northwest Indian Fisheries
The Chico Creek grant was among some $30 million in grants
announced Tuesday by the Environmental Protection Agency as part of
the Puget Sound Estuary Program. I wrote about the grants and
quoted involved officials in a story published in
yesterday’s Kitsap Sun. I’ll cover the other Puget Sound
projects here after talking about the one on Chico Creek.
Most roads that follow a shoreline in the Puget Sound region go
somewhere important, but Kittyhawk Drive is a dead-end. After
crossing Chico Creek, the road serves only three homes, if I recall
After the stream flows through a culvert under Highway 3, it
passes beneath Kittyhawk Drive with enough force to blow out some
of the large rocks planted there to help salmon make it upstream.
Removing the culvert will improve the estuary and help with the
fish-passage problem at that location, but the project needs to
address a change in elevation to get up to the freeway culvert.
The freeway culvert is another obstacle of concern. Local
officials are working with the Washington Department of
Transportation to find a way to replace that freeway culvert with a
bridge. Needless to say, the cost will be enormous.
Another Chico Creek culvert destined for replacement is the one
under Golf Club Road, just upstream from Kitsap Golf and Country
Club. That culvert replacement is part of an extensive restoration
of the stream channel where if flows through the golf course.
Yes, all this sounds like a lot of expense for one salmon
stream, but biologists will tell you that Chico Creek supports the
largest chum salmon run on the Kitsap Peninsula and provides a
decent run of coho and potentially other species. Once the
migrating adult salmon make it through the culverts near the mouth
of the stream, they have good spawning habitat upstream in the
Chico Creek watershed. Tributaries include Kitsap Creek, which
flows out of Kitsap Lake; Wildcat Creek, which flows out of Wildcat
Lake; and Dickerson Creek, which originates within a vast
Exactly when we’ll see the culvert under Kittyhawk Drive removed
remains uncertain. First, a new driveway must be built for
residents on the far side of the culvert. I’m told there is still
some design work to be done before contracts can go out to bid, and
construction must be scheduled around the salmon migrations.
Other projects approved for funding:
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